Hailing from the mid-west, DJ Sw@t is a non-stop bass making machine. Since her debut in 2005, Sw@t has played live shows nationwide, has hosted her own radio shows (KrisisDnB, Global Vortex), has her own production company (Hi-Rev) and founded the DNB Girls of Canada Collective. Producing and playing drum and bass, dubstep and a variety of other genres keeps DJ Sw@t busy as hell. I feel lucky to have pinned her down in the hot seat for a VikingSays exclusive interview! This bit is chock-full of previews, mixes and links to the projects DJ Sw@t is pumping out in 2012. Don’t miss this vixen in action!
Sw@t: To be honest, when I first started going to parties I didn’t understand what I was listening to. I was so new to electronic music and had yet to learn which genres were what. All I knew is that this fast paced music with a heavy baseline and banging drums really spoke to me.
SS: How long did you listen to drum and bass before you started spinning? How long after that did you start producing your own tracks?
Sw@t: It must have only been a few months after going to my first rave that I started collecting vinyl. With in 6 months I was playing the opening slots or even just showing up at various weekly nights and asking to play a few here and there. I was eager to play and I wanted to put in my time.
I probably got into production within a couple years after that. I dabbled here and there for a few years but nothing too serious until more recently.
SS: How would you describe the style of drum and bass that you make?
Sw@t: As for the Drum & Bass side of things, I couldn’t really pigeonhole it. I have tunes that are more on the jazzy side to even the grimier or harder style Drum & Bass. It all depends on how I am feeling in that moment.
SS: You also produce other genres of electronic music (melodic electronica, dubstep). Can you tell us how producing one style might influence the other?
Sw@t: It’s interesting to me how I can go out to an all night event and rock some dance floor banging tunes but when I get up in the studio I end up producing some of the most chilled out and melodic tunes. I don’t know that they necessarily influence one another since I am the one in the driver seat and it’s all up to how I am feeling in that moment. Sometimes I’ll think I am going to start making a Drum & Bass track and I decided it has more of a dubstep feel to it and then suddenly that is what I am making. I really never know what sound I am going for when I step into the studio. Sometimes I just get a melody in my head and have to get it out. I don’t always know what direction I will go, but I know it’s going to be something I really enjoy. I guess you can say, the plan is that there is no plan.
SS: Okay I know you don’t answer this one often, but what’s in a name?
Sw@t: When I first started out I didn’t know what alias to have. My friends at the time nick named me, “Dizzle” but it wasn’t really me. Another friend suggested, “SW@T”. He said, “Why don’t you make the name stand for something like, Sexy Woman @ Turntables?” I loved it. Think about it, we all have our favourite, DJs, Bands, singers and various artists. There is something sexy about watching someone rock out to their passion. Let it be on the mic or on the drums so I felt, “Sexy Woman @ Turntables” worked for me.
SS: Tell us about your musical inspirations: DJs, producers, bands?
Sw@t: I am influenced by so many different musical genres and artists. I’m inspired mostly by the way music makes me feel when I listen to it. I could be listening to a live DJ set at some music festival and I imagine myself there feeling the energy of the crowd. Sometimes I am listening to something very melodic that really speaks to my soul and gets me thinking about my life, my relationships. Music motivates me or sometimes it simply makes me feel at peace.
There are numerous artists that continue to inspire me daily. Whenever I look around I see like-minded people working hard, loving what they do and overcoming obstacles every day. Some of the people that have inspired me and I look up to this day are some of the very people I now work with.
Paul aka Inside Info has always been an artist I thought highly of. He produces a sound unlike most Drum & Bass artists out there and I think he was over looked for years. There are so many people out there trying to be like someone else and this guy was just being him. He was making his own unique sound and wanted to help others in the process. I really appreciate that about an artist, that no matter how big or small, they treat everyone equally and respectfully.
Another artist I’ve not only looked up to but ask for advice throughout the years is Freaky Flow. Someone many old school Junglists are very familiar with. He took the time to get to know me, the person and the DJ and continues to give me advice and support throughout the years.
B.Traits to this day is a woman I still look up to. From our first conversation on msn (does anyone still use that?) talking about our dreams. That woman is seriously living them to this day and she is paving the way for other female artists. Her kindness, hard work and support helped me right from the beginning. She is someone that knows what challenges can come early on for eager artists and knows how to overcome those obstacles.
Another woman that inspires me is Vilify from Montreal. I remember my first gig out there, the girl was asking me for advice and telling me how she looked up to me. Within a matter of months speaking with her she had already begun to take over the Dubstep Scene in Montreal and really make something Canada could be proud of. She along with B.Traits and the Drum & Bass Girls of Canada make me so very proud to be a female artist in Canada.
SS: Tell us a little bit about the “DNB Girls of Canada”.
Sw@t: The Drum & Bass Girls of Canada is a collective of talented, hard working women in the Drum & Bass scene. You guessed it, they are also Canadian. It seems that when I started the roster years back most of us still lived out here, but since then many have moved to other countries where their careers have flourished more and more. I am so very proud of our Canadian talent. The reason I initially decided to get this project going was because not only were these woman talented, but also an amazing support team. We help promote one another, support and work together to make something really special. When people ask me the difference between being a female DJ and a male DJ I can only guess that most girls want to work as a team as a lot of the times I notice guys making a competition out of it. Not that there is anything wrong with a little healthy competition. We just have a different approach and it works for us. There may not be as many female DJs as male, but the percentage of success is much higher than men. I think that is because women don’t drop that sort of money on electronics unless they are going to make it work for them. Heh.
SS: What’s it like being a female DJ in a male-dominated scene? Are there any experiences you’ve had that you would say are unique to being a girl on the decks?
Sw@t: Being the odd one out just means you stand out. That doesn’t mean you get a free ride. I think that people that are truly passionate about what they want and work hard to get it will always come out on top regardless of sex, age, colour or religion. I think it’s definitely easier for people to judge the odd ball out, but that just makes it more fun to prove people wrong in the end, right?
As for unique experiences being a girl, I always have to make sure my nails are freshly painted before a gig. There might be a few guys that like a little polish too, but it’s all I could think of ;)
SS: What kind of questions do fans ask you at your shows?
Sw@t: “How did you get into this?”
That is probably the number one question asked. When I was younger I was always throwing parties and being the entertainer. Either I was supplying a CD with my latest favorite hiphop and dance music or I was telling jokes. I always loved dancing too. It really was no surprise to my friends that I would get into this sort of stuff.
To a passerby I guess the idea of a, “DJ” is the new “Rockstar” so they are far more fascinated about everything going on. A lot of the time I meet people that want to get into themselves. They think, “Hell, if she can do it… so can I!” I love that sort of attitude and am willing to answer any questions people may have.
SS: What is a song that you’re embarrassed to admit that you love? (I promise not to tell anyone, except for everyone reading this.)
Sw@t: Wow, that’s a good question. If I get tricked into Karaoke I’ll sing anything by “No Doubt.” The first CD I ever owned was, “Tragic Kingdom – No Doubt” and to this day I still rock out to those tracks.
SS: Tell us about one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had as a DJ.
Sw@t: I’ve experienced some pretty random but cool things throughout the years. I’ve gotten to meet my favourite artists and even work along side some. I’ve even randomly ended up opening for some of my favourite artists unexpectedly at various music festivals when line ups got mixed around.
After a mix up with a stage I was suppose to play but was shutdown early at music festival in Ontario, the promoter tried to make things right in getting me another slot at an even bigger stage that night. I ended up playing on the same stage as Andy C himself. I think he was even still on the stage when I started my set. That was pretty cool and I’ve always wanted to meet him. I like how an unfortunately situation presented an even better one later in the night. I was very grateful to the promoter and the DJ that graciously shared his time slot so I could still get the opportunity to rock my sounds.
SS: What projects do you have going on right now? I heard about a side project (Kaboom?) and some upcoming releases?
Sw@t: We have just finished filming the last scenes for our music video “Bottled” an Inside Info track I am featured in being released on Viper Recordings very soon. I am ecstatic to see how the video turns out and what sort of hype is created with the release. Viper is such a talented family of unique artists I’m honoured to be a part of this project and many more to come.
Sneak Peak of “Bottled” video
More recently a local producer, “Tripwave” had asked me to do some vocal work for his latest track, “Feel It”. The song ended up being signed to “Breakz R Boss” a Digital Canadian Label, which will also come out with some remixes by some of their artists. I believe we’ve got a video coming out for that one too, I”l let you guys know closer to that release date.
Tripwave Feat. SW@T “Feel It”
K@_BOOM! DJ/VJ Duo Promo Video
Andy C – for most D&B DJs is an all time favourite and a must have on the dream team line up.
B.Traits – I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside her once before and I would love the opportunity to play with her again. Her track selection is stellar.
Craze – The guy is a GOD on the turntables. ‘Nuff said…
Dada Life – I love their tunes, I love their energy and I think they are hilarious… who doesn’t like funny people?
Dirtyphonics – These guys can control a crowd with their energy. I would love to be a part of a show with this guys.
SS: If you were headlining a chess tournament, and could pick any DJs to compete against, who would they be?
Sw@t: Someone with a sense of humour because I don’t know how to play chess! I’ve never played it, so I’d just pretend it was actually checkers but I’d say “check mate” every time I’d make a move.
SS: Thanks for taking a few moments to catch up with VikingSays.com and fill us in on all your news. We look forward to your next release, keep makin’ em like that! – Scrabbit
Photo credit: Aaron Kostuik
Video Credit: Kirsten Goblin
DJ Agency: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Cyber Groove AM: http://www.cybergrooveam.com